Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 23 (Aug 21 2012)

What was I saying about every day during a mesocosm experiment bringing a new surprise?  Today, we woke up to see that the tides had been so strong that the mesocosm raft shifted roughly 30 meters further away from the inlet during the night, dragging the anchoring points together into a nearly straight line behind it.  Oops.  Visions of mesocosm bags hung up on anchor lines swam through our head, not to mention the thought of the whole raft breaking free and blowing up onto the neighboring farmers' lawn, to the great irritation of their cows.  "I was feeling," Jussi later said, "that I had to go out there and go down with the ship."  So out there we went, the first half of the crack mesocosm raft rescue team, in an attempt to shore up slack lines (hahahaha, which was all of them but one) and to drag the anchoring points back into useful positions (and although Jussi's grip on the rope was up to job (Extraordinary! I have never before seen someone deploy such silent, breath-holding, vein-popping reserves of strength), the outboard on the boat was not.

At any rate, the mesocosms survived the day, although when we went out later to take some CTD profiles, about a third of our bags were too tortuous in the incoming tide for us to deploy the instrument.  

Aug 21 2012a-  The sight that greeted us en route to breakfast.  Normally the buoys form a vaguely circular array around the raft.  But now the buoys are clustered together to one side of it and the mesocosm raft has run smack up against our spiffy pontoon.

Aug 21 2012aa-  Juli pulling on her orange Mesocosm Raft Rescue superhero uniform.

Aug 21 2012b-  Mesocosm Raft Rescue Team part 1 hopping out of their orange car in their color coordinated uniforms to Save The Day.  Hurrah!

Aug 21 2012c-  Mesocosm Raft Rescue, it's just all in a normal, pleasant day's work for these two.

Aug 21 2012d-  Normally the raft is in between the buoys, which are normally about 50 feet apart.

 Aug 21 2012e-   The raft has clearly made a break for freedom, dragging the buoys (and their anchors) into line behind it.

 Aug 21 2012f-  Pondering what to do.

Aug 21 2012g-  Jussi decided we should try to drag the anchors back into a reasonable set of positions.  Unfortunately, this is going to require scraping a bit of next spring's field station mussel fest off the anchor lines.

 Aug 21 2012h-  There was a little teeny starfish, too.

 Aug 21 2012i-  After failing to move the anchors, or to do much more than take up as much of the slack on the lines as possible, we grabbed some water for the zooplankton team.  Here Jussi and Juli are emptying the integrated water sampler into yet another vital, high tech piece of oceanographic equipment.  Myself, I am not actually hovering in the air, as I take this picture, but standing on our spiffy pontoon, which you could get bobbing excellently from side to side and was something in between surfing and swinging in a hammock.

 Aug 21 2012j-  Transfering the water from the bucket to the carboy.

 Aug 21 2012k-  Do I not have a flair for fashion?  Even my earrings are silver and black.  All oceanographers should be this awesome.

Aug 21 2012l-  Juli has been raptured straight out of her waterproof superhero costume.

 Aug 21 2012m-   Getting some nutrients for the boat.

 Aug 21 2012n-  Not sure what this "avg" the cheaper diesel is free of.  Lordy, those are high prices (divide by 7.3 to get Euros), and in an oil-rich country, too...

 Aug 21 2012o-  Hanging in the back of Jussi's Landrover is a little blue elephant who smells of flowers.

 Aug 21 2012p-  Norwegian delights.  Bubble gum in the shape of tennis balls and a Turkish Pepper lollipop (which was salt licorice plus Capsicum powder and had me hopping around the lab, fanning my tongue, for about 20 minutes).

 Aug 21 2012q-  After all the excitement, it seemed a better idea to go out to the raft and do some CTD profiles to see if all the flapping around and floating up of the bags with the tides had destratified them any, so Jussi and I somehow squeezed into the dinky little rowboat and went out.  The calcite team, who are accustomed to having the raft to themselves during their 4-hour sampling epics was not entirely quite sure what to make of the intrusion.  I think Richard was only claiming to need to hide under the rain poncho in order to read the display on his laptop screen.

Aug 21 2012r-  When the bags are vertical, you can just see straight down them.  This one is more like some sort of whirling fun slide in a playground.  For reference, the down line for the sediment trap is, at least where you can see it, hanging vertically).

 Aug 21 2012s-   This one is especially impressive.

 Aug 21 2012t-  The one in the back is so splayed out to the right side of the picture, it is careening into the irritating blue float (the blue floats appear to have been placed in exactly the perfect positions to prevent you from pulling the boat by hand around the perimeter of the raft.

 Aug 21 2012u-  It's like the little mermaid doing oceanography.

 Aug 21 2012v-   When the sun comes out and the wind takes a coffee break, it gets warm enough to toss aside all waterproof jackets.

 Aug 21 2012w-  And then, as quickly as it arrived, the sun disappears.  But we were done and rowed back in just in time to beat Richard and Sari in the motorboat back to the dock.

 Aug 21 2012x- The approach.

 Aug 21 2012y-  Sari preparing to hop out.

Aug 21 2012z-  Perfect landing.

 Aug 21 2012za-  After dinner the second, less color coordinated Mesocosm Raft Rescue Team set out to drop another anchor in the bay in an attempt to prevent the mesocosm raft from doing what it had in fact already done, which was, under the influence of the outgoing tide and winds, drift straight into the mess of ropes and down lines that had previously been trailing behind it.

 Aug 21 2012zb-  For some reason, the one undeployed anchor (car tire filled with concrete) was lying in waist deep water.  Briva gamely waded in to fetch the rope.

Aug 21 2012zc-  Here Briva, Jussi, Marja, and Morgane attempting to hoist the anchor slightly so Morten (and I, but I was not much help) can haul it in closer to shore.

Aug 21 2012zd-  It turned out to be quite easy to haul in, and now they have to turn the boat around before we can haul it in any further, because the propeller has gotten stuck on some rocks.

 Aug 21 2012ze-  The anchor rather colonized by worms, brittle stars, anemones, sea urchins, and tiny little flat tailed lobsters (Galathea).

 Aug 21 2012zf-  Codium growing rather impressively on the rope.

 Aug 21 2012zg-  It turned out to be fairly easy to haul the tire and all of its calcareous tube worms up onto the pontoon.

Aug 21 2012zh- Of course, that faily easy hauling of the tire onto the pobtoon required two people to stand behind the raft and, ahem, fill their boots up with water.

 Aug 21 2012zi-  Jussi pondering the poor little stunned fish I caught with my bare hands.

Aug 21 2012zj-  The only close up photo I got of it before it recovered enough to jump out of my hand.

 Aug 21 2012zk-  Morgane dumping the water out of her boots and poignantly wringing out her socks.

Aug 21 2012zl-   Morten demonstrating that his socks are still dry and so therefore he is not going to wade out to the boat to join the rest of the Not Color Coordinated Mesocosm Raft Rescue Team.

 Aug 21 2012zm-  Getting ready to sail off to the mesocosm raft.

 Aug 21 2012n-   Morgane giving Morten one last chance to swim out to join them.  He did not take it.

 Aug 21 2012o-  And away they go to drop an anchor to stabilize the mesocosm raft.

 Aug 21 2012p-  And I trotted back so waterlogged I had to just climb into the shower before I took off any of my clothes (including my boots).

 Aug 21 2012q-  And the evening rounded out with a birthday celebration.  Here Annick and Nathalie are setting up what would turn out to be a picturesque and appetizing spread of cookies, nuts, and sparkling wine.

Aug 21 2012r-  Annick pouring out the bubbling at the beginning of what turned out to be a relatively long (but highly entertaining) night.

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